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Q: I am interested in GUS and/or ES? Where can I find out more about the major?

A:  This website is your best place to begin. Use the links to find out more about GUS and ES here. We take pride in our undergraduate advising so you should visit the ES or GUS undergraduate advisor who can help you get the most out of your academic career. To contact the undergraduate advisor, email

Q: What can I do with a GUS major or an ES major?

A: Almost anything! Because both are truly interdisciplinary majors, our graduates are qualified for a broad range of jobs and career tracks. Recent graduates have gone to work for consulting firms, planning offices, non-governmental organizations, the corporate sector, government agencies, educational institutions, city governments, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and firms that specialize in mapping and GIS software. Other graduates have gone on to postgraduate studies in geography, planning and law.

Q: How do I officially declare my major or change my major?

A: If you are a Liberal Arts student and you wish to declare a GUS or ES major or minor, you must submit a Declaration/Change of Major Form, which can be obtained from the Academic Advising and Professional Development Center.

Q: I am not currently enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts (maybe in Communication, Science and Technology, Business, Tyler, etc.) and want to change my major. How can I join GUS or ES?

A: As both majors are in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), you need to be admitted to CLA before declaring GUS or ES a major, which is not hard. You need to go to the advising office in your home college and request the transfer. You can take GUS courses before you transfer and should talk with the undergraduate advisor to discuss what courses might be appropriate.

Q: How do I do an “Independent Study” course?

A: Independent studies courses allow students the opportunity to work with an individual professor to take on advanced study in the major. Typically students take independent studies as juniors or seniors after they have completed the majority of the requirements for the major. Students need to find a professor who is willing to sponsor the independent study, and most professors will only work with students they know and share some interest.

Students wishing to do independent study should also consider applying for the Diamond Scholarship or the Creative Arts, Research And Scholarship (CARAS) Program.

Q:  Can I study abroad?

A:  Yes! We encourage all incoming students to consider going abroad for one or two semesters. You can study in a semester or summer program either through Temple or another university and in many cases you can take courses that will serve as GUS or ES electives. There are a range of study abroad programs around the world and we encourage students to consider a semester abroad as the first step on a international career path. If you plan in advance you can work a semester (or year) abroad into your schedule and still graduate on time. For questions about counting study abroad electives toward the GUS or ES major, email

Q: How can I request an incomplete in a course that I am unable to finish on time?

A: You should ask your instructor if she or he is willing to assign an incomplete for the course. This decision is up to the instructor. Before assigning any incomplete grade, the instructor will ask you to co-sign a form specifying what needs to be completed. The maximum time for finishing incomplete course work is ONE YEAR from the end of the term in which the course was taken. Instructors may specify a shorter time and then submit a change of grade card after that date has passed. After one year, the incomplete grade will automatically be changed to the specified default grade.

Q: I am a transfer student, how do I declare a major in GUS or ES and enroll in classes?

A: For information on admission to the university check the admissions page at or contact them at 888-340-2222 or 215-204-7200 to set up an interview.

The Mailing address is:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1801 North Broad St., Conwell Hall 103

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19122-6096

You should also be aware that we require 30 credits completed in residence with one half of the courses in the major also being done in residence.

A few weeks after you pay the tuition deposit you will receive information about Transfer Online Orientation. Once you have completed the Transfer Online Orientation you will be able to sign up for an Advising Session. CLA Advising Sessions are held in Anderson Hall Computer Lab 19. When you attend the Advising Session an academic advisor from the College of Liberal Arts Advising Center will be able to explain University, Core/General Education, College and major requirements and help you declare a major and initially enroll in classes. Please also try to make an appointment to meet with the GUS advisor.

You cannot register before your advising session. You can, however, see what courses are open be ready to register for those that fit your schedule during your initial advising session. In general, we offer the intro courses in the mornings and the upper level courses in the afternoons and evenings.

Q: I am a GUS or ES major, how can I be sure I am on track to graduate on time?

A: The undergraduate advisor in the major can help you plan a schedule that will keep you on track. Please review the degree requirements and try to build a schedule of courses that you find of interest. As the degree requires 12 courses, if you start taking GUS classes your second year, you should plan on taking two courses per semester. To contact the undergraduate advisor, email

Q: What do I need to know about Double Majors?

For GUS/ES double majors who declared 2014-2015 or later, the only classes that may count for both majors are GUS/ENST 2197, GUS/ENST 3062, and GUS/ENST 3161. Double majors must take both GUS and ENST 4198: Senior Seminar courses.

Students who declared a double major before Fall 2010 should contact the undergraduate advisor by emailing

Q: How do I get letters of recommendation from professors?

GUS and ES professors are not obligated to write a graduate school letter of recommendation for any student.  If they agree to write a letter, it is recommended that the following criteria be met:

The student must have discussed their graduate school interests with the appropriate professors prior to asking for a letter of recommendation – preferably multiple times over the course of several semesters.

In order to obtain a letter of recommendation from a professor who specializes in the same area of research that a student plans to pursue in Graduate School (i.e. GIS, urban inequality, environmental planning, planning, international development, etc. ), the student must have completed at least one, but preferably two, courses or completed a research project with that professor or conducted.

If the student is applying to any graduate program that requires the GRE, the exam must have been taken and scores received prior to requesting a letter of recommendation.  In addition, the student must obtain a minimum score of 1000 (combined verbal and quantitative) on the GRE and have a grade point average of 3.0.

If a GUS/ES Professor agrees to write a letter of recommendation, it is recommended that the student provide the following information organized in a binder:

  • Cover page/Letter
  • Academic information summary page
  • Include overall, major and upper level GPA
  • List all GUS/ES courses completed and grades
  • List GUS/ES courses and grades taken with professor writing letter
  • Include GRE scores and the breakdown for each section
  • An unofficial copy of the student’s undergraduate transcripts with all grades.
  • A summary page of the graduate programs that the student is applying to listed in their ranked order by student preference with the following information:
  • Name of school
  • Main faculty interested in working with
  • Deadlines for receiving letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement or Letter of Intent that will be submitted
  • Envelopes addressed and stamped (Make sure the appropriate postage is included on each letter, particularly with international letters.)
  • Writing sample
  • To be determined by the respective faculty member.

Q: Can an undergraduate student take a graduate course for use towards a BA?

Yes. Undergraduates may take 5XXX level courses (NOT 7XXX or 8XXX) if:

The class is not full. To ensure room for incoming students some instructors will only allow undergraduate students to enroll after the first day of the semester.

The instructor gives the student permission to enroll in the class. Even if the class is not full, an instructor may choose not to allow undergraduates in a class. While there is no rule that determines who can enroll in a graduate course, some instructors will only let undergraduate students who have completed more than 75 credit hours with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The student has completed the prerequisites for the course.

Please be aware than some 5xxx classes may also be cross –listed with an undergraduate class. A student who has enrolled in a graduate section of the class must complete the requirements for the graduate students.

**GUS: Geography and Urban Studies, ES: Environmental Studies**